While diseases affect everybody, no matter their age or where they are from, there are some diseases that affect children more. This is often because the immune system of young children is not strong enough to resist or fight against such diseases. In some cases, it is always hard for children to cope with these diseases, and they may die from them if proper care is not taken.
This is why it is very important that children are protected to prevent these diseases, and in cases where a child comes down with any disease, they must revive the prescribed treatment for it.
In Nigeria, we have several of such childhood diseases, some of which claim many lives every year. Most of these deaths come from rural parts of the country where exposure to such diseases are common, and there is no easy access to health facilities to treat such diseases.
Let us now examine some of these common childhood diseases that we have in Nigeria.
Malaria, which is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, is one of the deadliest diseases in Nigeria. According to studies, malaria mainly affects children in Nigeria.
Although it can easily be treated under a few days, in cases where there is no treatment available, the consequences could be fatal. Malaria affects everybody, both young and old, but in young Children, it can be very severe.
A stat from UNICEF shows that every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. This is just a pointer to how deadly the disease can be for young children.
To prevent malaria in young children:
- Ensure that they sleep under treated mosquito nets, which would keep mosquitos out.
- Encourage the child to wear clothes that would cover all parts of their body.
- Use a mild insecticide to get rid of mosquitos around the house.
- Clear your surroundings to prevent mosquitos from having a breeding ground nearby.
If you notice that your child exhibits any symptoms of malaria, such as fever, vomiting, or restlessness, take the child to see a doctor immediately.
Pneumonia is another common disease that affects young children in Nigeria. According to UNICEF, Nigeria contributes highest number to the worldwide pneumonia child deaths
Contrary to popular opinion, pneumonia is not caused by a cold; rather, it is an infection caused by a variety of bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, fungi, or a virus.
It occurs when a person comes in contact with any of these microorganisms, either by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the virus or by inhaling air that contains the bacteria. Pneumonia affects the lungs and could lead to inflammation of the air sacs.
In young children, especially those living in rural locations, pneumonia poses a real threat. But it can be prevented or treated.
To prevent pneumonia:
- Practice proper hygiene in and around your home
- Ensure that you get your water from a good source
- Always cook your food properly
- Reduce pollution with the house.
Make sure your child gets immunized against pneumonia.
Diarrhoea is another leading cause of death in young children, with an estimated 480,000 deaths in 2019 alone, according to UNICEF. It can either be caused by a bacteria infection, allergies to certain foods, or if a child has trouble absorbing certain nutrients, like zinc.
The most common symptoms of diarrhoea are water stool, irregular bowel movement, nausea, blood or mucus in the stool, and so on. If your child has diarrohea, you should be able to detect it and get the child the treatment they need, as early detection and treatment is very key to prevent the situation from becoming fatal.
Diarrhoea can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness.
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